Today we launch a wonderful course on hospitality, taught by Episcopal priest and author Elizabeth Geitz. As we know, welcoming visitors and strangers is a commission we have from God, and most churches make some attempt at a hospitality ministry.
But there’s so much more to welcoming people than smiling and shaking their hands (though that is a start!). In Welcoming Visitors, Elizabeth reminds us what’s really going on when we practice hospitality; why it’s important; and key ways we can make sure that visitors and newcomers feel welcomed, heard, engaged, and incorporated, so that they become and remain active, involved members of our faith communities.
This course also lends itself easily to Small Group use; perhaps your church’s leadership, or your existing Hospitality Ministry, would find this a welcome springboard for strengthening and renewing your programs. As Elizabeth reminds us, hospitality is a vital ministry, one to which not everyone is called, and one that benefits from ongoing training and prayerful discernment.
We invite you to take and share this course, as we all seek to reach out to those around us, shaping disciples for Jesus’ work in the world. Click here for more information or to register.
How does your church welcome visitors and newcomers? How does your church turn those folks into active, engaged members of the Body of Christ?
The Episcopal Church Foundation offers some ideas here.
A pastor of a large non-denominational church in California offers the “LINE UP” rule.
BuildFaith.org offers even more advice here.
This Sunday, we’ll be launching our latest course on Church Management: Welcoming Visitors with Elizabeth Geitz offers practical wisdom on the ministry of hospitality as well as why it’s so important, both for visitors and for long-term church members. Hospitality is about remembering the sacred importance of every single person who walks through the church doors. It’s about listening for the needs of those who come to church — since everyone who comes does so for a reason, whether they realize it or not.
Does your church practice intentional welcoming? Does it follow up with visitors and newcomers? Does it give thanks each worship service for the visitors in your midst? Does it make it easy for a newcomer to really get involved? Do you know everyone’s name in your pew?
How is God calling you and your church to welcome visitors? You might be interested in Elizabeth Geitz’s book, Fireweed Evangelism: Christian Hospitality in a Multi-Faith World. And stay tuned for our course launching Sunday.
“Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for in doing so some have entertained angels unawares.”